WATCHUNG, NJ – Watercolor artist Sister Kathy Cairone has an unconventional method of painting – she holds her brush in her mouth.
When she was 27, Cairone, of the Sisters of McAuley Hall, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease that attacks the nervous system causing irreversible damage to the nerves between the brain and the body. As her condition advances, Cairone now uses a wheelchair operated with her chin.
Since taking up painting 16 years ago, she has used her mouth to create various works with oils, acrylics and watercolor.
“Although, I only paint once a week, it is a very important and vital part of my life,” wrote Cairone in an e-mail interview. “My time with art provides me with many opportunities for creativity and accomplishment.”
Watercolor is her main focus. Cairone said that her teacher, Lisa Brown, guided her through a media she enjoys and considers rewarding as well as therapeutic. A few of her subjects include the Twin Towers, landscapes and flowers.
Cairone has been recognized at the Mulitple Sclerosis Association of America’s art contest, winning third place with a painting of her brother’s cat named “Trudy” in 2007. The following year she won second place with “Burr,” a watercolor art portraying springtime at the shore.
“Before entering contests, almost all of my other paintings I have given as gifts to those who have taken care of me, supported me and helped me,” Cairone said.
She also exhibited and sold her works at the Summit, N.J., Bouras Co. in October 2010. Cairone has received honorable mentions at the Bryn Mawr rehab contest in Pennsylvania as well as earning first place in 2011.
Cairone’s work is part of the Seton Hall University Walsh Gallery exhibit “Colors of Faith,” which runs through Oct. 13. For more information contact Jeanne Brasile at email@example.com.
For a story on the exhibit, click here.
The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.